Wheeler is sorry for doing his job

The world is well acquainted with reality TV, but only here in Portland is unreality TV so popular. Many days, you watch the local news and can't believe your eyes. The occupation of Mississippi Avenue in north Portland by armed anarchists and bored hipsters is one of those preposterous moments.  

In every other universe, when you borrow money and put a mortgage on your house, if you don't pay back the loan, you lose the house.

And no, you can't declare yourself a "sovereign citizen," walk away from the debt, and keep the house. Our entire economic system would collapse if that were the case. The "sovereign" thing is popular among prison inmates. That, and the assertion that they're all political prisoners. And innocent.

And no, even if you're a member of a racial minority or two, in a neighborhood that's being gentrified, that doesn't entitle you to break the mortgage you signed and still stay in the house.

If your family owns another house, you can go live there.

Now, if people want to hand you $300,000 to pay off your debt, it is their right to do so. They're nuts, but if that's what they want to do, it's their money. If the parties who bought the house at foreclosure are nice enough, or intimidated enough, to sell it back to you, you get the house back.

Now, the story of the "red house" is strange enough up to that point, but it just keeps getting weirder. Last night we learned that the city is going to let the anarchist occupation force off the hook if they will just take down their barricades and leave the site by tonight. And to cap it all off, the mayor and the police chief are apologizing for sending out tweets suggesting that the occupation had to stop:

In a letter addressed to the Kinney family that was released to The Oregonian/OregonLive, Wheeler and Police Chief Chuck Lovell apologized for statements the two leaders had made earlier in the week. In one series of posts on Twitter, Wheeler referred to the encampment as an “autonomous zone” and said police were authorized to use “all lawful means” to end the occupation of the house and street.

In the letter, Wheeler and Lovell said the family had been subjected to escalating threats after the posts, and that police had assigned a detective to investigate those threats.

“We apologize and understand that following our tweets earlier this week that your family received threats,” the letter said. “We did not intend to attract attention that results in threats of harm and violence to your family or that escalated tensions in our community. Nobody should be subjected to this kind of stress and harm, and we apologize for the role our tweets played in this.”

The letter also said the city would support the family in finding temporary housing and effective legal counsel.

 The mayor's tweet is here: 

The chief's tweet is here:

Why would they be apologizing for those? Plus, "We did not intend to attract attention... Nobody should be subjected to this kind of stress"? Wow. Just wow. 

I don't get it.  What I do get is that our city's violent anarchists will now be emboldened beyond everything we've seen so far. I suspect that many normal Portlanders think that after Trump and after Covid, things are going to settle down on the streets here. They are wrong about that, and apologizing to the wrongdoers is not going to help the situation one bit.

I took a ride in my car yesterday, and I cruised around downtown for part of it. Man, it was bleak. And that was without a rioter in sight. This city will have a long way to go, longer than many others, once the recovery starts. But now I'm starting to wonder if a recovery is even going to start for a generation or so. Oh, well, that's another post, or maybe a book.


  1. I know Jack. Just when you think that Portland has reached bottom we find a way to go even deeper. It is like some kind of bad dream, the kind that you wake up from and are happy to get out from it and realize that things are really OK.

    Except that this is no dream.....more like some kind of demented drama along the lines of Eraserhead where nothing makes sense and you spend the rest of your life trying to figure out what you just watched.

    I really have no reason to complain as I am technically a L.O. resident but I spend all of my time here and was born and raised here and have considerable roots here. Once my parents are gone Portland will just be a place that I pass through, if I even stay in the region at all.

    1. Wheeler is a complete embarrassment, no doubt, but can you imagine what Sarah Iannarone would have done if she were elected?

    2. Is there any real difference? We still have incompetence but Ted just acts tough on occasion but eventually reverts back to his naturally spineless self. I fail to see how Portland has benefited at all from his so-called leadership. At least with Sarah there would be no expectation of results.

  2. I think I know what happened here. Wheeler realized he had no real leadership skills so he went to a book store and asked for a self-help book on the subject. They misunderstood him and gave him a New Age book on parenting and he's been following it ever since.

    His apologetic tone with the protesters reminds me of being in a grocery store listening to some politically correct mother negotiating with a wayward child: "Timmy, you know mommy and daddy love you very much, but we won't be able to love you quite as much if you don't stop screaming at us."

    Wheeler's tone has that same New Age feel where everything is feelings and goo. To the geniuses who voted for him I say, "What the hell were you thinking?"

  3. There is no doubt the anarchists have the city playing defense and Wheeler is on defense all the time. I don't really see a way out of it. We are cutting back on our police and in the eyes of the citizenry the cops are always wrong... It seems almost too late to stop this... other than a real hard line -- which Portland would simply not abide. Move out -- that's my sincere advice, given the tax situation, too.


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